PIA20159: A Landing Site for ExoMars 2016
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
 Spacecraft:  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
 Instrument:  HiRISE
 Product Size:  2880 x 1800 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Johns Hopkins University/APL
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 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA20159.tif (15.56 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA20159.jpg (1.932 MB)

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In March 2016, the European Space Agency in partnership with Roscosmos will launch the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. This orbiter will also carry an Entry, Descent, and Landing Demonstration Module (EDM): a lander designed primarily to demonstrate the capability to land on Mars. The EDM will survive for only a few days, running on battery power, but will make a few environmental measurements.

The landing site is the flattest, safest place on Mars: part of Meridiani Planum, close to where the Opportunity rover landed. This image shows what this terrain is like: very flat and featureless. A full-resolution sample reveals the major surface features: small craters and wind ripples. HiRISE has been imaging the landing site region in advance of the landing, and will re-image the site after landing to identify the major pieces of hardware: heat shield, backshell with parachute, and the lander itself. The distribution of these pieces will provide information about the entry, descent and landing.

Click here for more information about ESA's ExoMars Programme.

This is a stereo pair with ESP_034986_1785.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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